Severus Marches On!

On Thursday 18th October, archaeologist and author from the University of Kent, Dr Simon Elliott, visited the Association and addressed more than 215 members and visitors in his talk ‘Septimius Severus in Scotland’.

Our youngest founder member at the age of 8, Jonah Crouch, now in year 7 and at his final lecture before moving away to Madrid, tells us all about it:

“Dr Simon Elliott blew the audience away on Thursday with his speech on Septimius Severus. He was very knowledgeable about this subject and left us much more informed. My favourite part was when Caracalla killed Geta (both of whom were Severus’s children) because it just shows that the older sibling will always prevail – apologies to all those younger siblings out there but as an eldest child, it is the truth!


Caracalla and Geta – before the former killed the latter!

I also found it amusing that Severus decided to make the capital of the Roman Empire in York, in freezing cold England! While it did make sense to make the capital the place closest to the biggest battles, I am quite surprised he wanted to locate it so far away from everything else in the empire.

Simon Elliott Lecture

Educating 215 members of the audience about this fascinating Scottish campaign

During the lecture we discovered Septimius’s tragic ending in York – where he died after one of his campaigns – but also learned about his brilliant tactical skills in battle. One of his tactical deployments was used during a battle in Scotland: Septimius split his army between himself and his son Caracalla. Caracalla went off and blocked the exit across the Highlands whilst the navy guarding the sea meant that the Northern tribes had nowhere to run. Fans of Lord Of The Rings will recognise this strategy!


A similarity in battle technique?

Romans may have normally thought of Augustus when they talked about a supreme warrior emperor. Septimius conquered the Parthians, yet Augustus failed to do that; Septimius even almost conquered Scotland which Augustus also attempted but failed at as well. Therefore, Dr Elliott’s thinking is true: Septimius could be considered the supreme warrior emperor.


The arch commemorating Septimius Severus’ military campaigns in Parthia

A fact-filled lecture ended my time with the LSA Classical Association. You have made my classics journey a brilliant one, inspiring me with every talk since I was 8 years old and just being an amazing overall part of my life. I will continue to forge my own classics path as I move to Madrid – where at least it is physically closer to the classical world (and climatically too)!”


Jonah's thank you speech at Simon Elliott's Lecture at LSA CA

Another great Vote of Thanks from Jonah, just before officially becoming an International Classics Ambassador

We would like to say a huge thank you to Dr Elliott for travelling such a long way to deliver a great lecture which entertained and enlightened us all. A special farewell and congratulations to Jonah, who has inspired us with his excellent questions and his enthusiasm for all things ancient, taking part in our Junior Classics Competition for the past two years running and being crowned the AKS Junior School winner on both occasions.

Already a published author, he has a bright future ahead in Classics and we were proud to present him on Thursday night with the badge that shows he is our very first International Classics Ambassador. We’re looking forward to welcoming him back to the Association soon, perhaps giving us a talk on Roman Spain!